College Hockey:
West Regional preview: Niagara, Yale look to stop a Minnesota-North Dakota final

It’s almost getting predictable. When Minnesota and North Dakota both make the NCAA tournament, they end up in the same regional.

It has happened four of the last five times the teams have appeared in the same field of 16, dating to 2006.

As the top two seeds, they could be meeting Saturday at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., for a spot in the Frozen Four.

Niagara and Yale, however, have other ideas.

Here’s a look at the 2013 West Regional, the only one of the four sections that includes all at-large selections:

Erik Haula (left) and Sam Warning are among Minnesota’s offensive threats (photo: Jim Rosvold).

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Schedule :: Stats :: Roster

Coach: Don Lucia, 26th season (14th at Minnesota)

Record: 26-8-5 (16-7-5 WCHA, tie-first)

How they got in: At-large bid

Regional seed: First

Last NCAA tournament appearance: 2012

Best NCAA finish: Champions in 1974, 1976, 1979, 2002, 2003

Why they’ll get to the Frozen Four: Minnesota might be the deepest team in the tournament and plays as well on both ends of the ice as any team in the nation.

Why they won’t get to the Frozen Four: If the Gophers play as flat as they did last Friday against Colorado College, they can lose to any team.

Missing the WCHA Final Five championship game no doubt made for a bitter taste in the Minnesota players’ and coaches’ mouths after losing 2-0 to Colorado College in the semifinals.

Minnesota played its way into the No. 1 seed in the West Regional with a great regular season, and it’s ready to leave the CC game in the past.

“I’m disappointed, to be frank, that we’re not playing for a championship,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said after Friday’s game. “We’ve been good about bouncing back. We lose a game, we seem to play better the next time out. That has to happen again next week.”

The Gophers have the capability to regroup and make a return trip to the Frozen Four with their talent and depth. Minnesota’s top five forwards each have 31 or more points this season.

Erik Haula is Minnesota’s best all-around player, with the ability to score and pass the puck. He leads the team with 49 points on 33 assists (second-most in Division I) and 16 goals.

Nick Bjugstad leads the Gophers in goals with 22 and Kyle Rau is second on the team in points with 39 (15 goals, 24 assists).

Minnesota has one of the better offensive defensemen in the nation in Nate Schmidt. Tied for third in points by defensemen (31), Schmidt is the quarterback of the Gophers’ top power-play unit. He leads Division I in power-play points (18) and power-play assists (14) and has one of the heaviest slap shots in the WCHA.

“We’ve had a great season and we’ve put ourselves in a great position,” Lucia said. “I’m looking forward to watching our guys bounce back this week.”

The Gophers beat Yale in 7-3 in the Dodge Holiday Classic in their last meeting in December 2002.

“We need to work on our compete level and make sure we finish our checks and limit our turnovers,” Minnesota captain Zach Budish said. “The coaches always stress we’re playing our best hockey when our hit totals are up and our turnovers are down.

“That’s pretty much the same for any team but our team especially, when we’re moving our feet and finishing checks, we’re more involved and create chances that way.”

The key for Minnesota is to throw the first punch and make it a heavy one. The Gophers can’t let Yale hang around and give it a chance to win.

That’s what nearly cost Minnesota a couple times in two one-goal wins in the WCHA first round against Bemidji State and it did the Gophers in last Friday against the Tigers.

– Tyler Buckentine

Danny Kristo has 25 goals and 26 assists for North Dakota (photo: Jim Rosvold).

North Dakota

Schedule :: Stats :: Roster

Coach: Dave Hakstol, ninth season

Record: 21-12-7 (14-7-7 WCHA, third)

How they got in: At-large bid

Regional seed: Second

Last NCAA tournament appearance: 2012

Best NCAA finish: Champions in 1959, 1963, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1997, 2000

Why they’ll get to the Frozen Four: UND is stacked offensively and finds the net from seemingly everywhere on the ice. Hakstol’s group has averaged 3.30 goals per game this season, and the points aren’t only being put up by the forwards — UND has the nation’s second-best blue-line corps in terms of offensive production (22 goals and 75 assists for 97 points).

Why they won’t get to the Frozen Four: Minnesota gave UND a 5-2 pounding in last year’s West Regional final in St. Paul, Minn., and, if UND outlasts Niagara in the first round, the nation’s second-ranked team could then repeat last year’s feat this time around.

Although North Dakota has never missed the NCAA tournament in Dave Hakstol’s nine seasons as UND’s coach, one thing has always eluded his team: a national championship.

In order for UND to give Hakstol his first national title and the program’s first since 2000, it will first have to navigate a tough West Regional that includes a WCHA league rival that thumped UND at this same point last season.

The No. 2 seed in the West Regional, UND will play Friday evening against a Niagara team that ran roughshod over Atlantic Hockey for most of the season before losing in the league’s playoffs and having to settle for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.

If UND can find a way past the Purple Eagles, there’s a very good chance that WCHA archrival Minnesota would be UND’s opponent in Saturday’s regional final for the right to advance to this year’s Frozen Four in Pittsburgh.

Waters in that regional final would be even choppier than they will be in the game against Niagara, though. Minnesota put on a dominating performance in a 5-2 win over UND in last year’s West Regional final, and both teams will be gunning for bragging rights again for this postseason.

UND certainly has weapons strong enough to get the team to Pittsburgh, though. Hobey Baker Award finalists Danny Kristo (25 goals, 26 assists) and Corban Knight (15, 33) lead the way up front, and the team’s 3.30 goals per game place UND fifth in the nation in terms of scoring offense.

The team does, however, need to shore up its defense in a hurry. UND is conceding an average of 2.45 goals per game this season (17th-best in the country), and neither junior goaltender Clarke Saunders nor freshman Zane Gothberg is among the nation’s top 30 netminders in terms of save percentage.

Hakstol hopes, however, that his team can get the ball rolling by entering the Niagara game with the mentality it needs to have in order to perform in this one-and-done competition.

“It’s a four-game tournament and you only get one shot at the first game,” Hakstol told the Grand Forks Herald. “That’s what we’re focusing on and preparing ourselves for.

“It’s exciting to be in. We’re going to narrow our focus and get ready for a great game on Friday.”

– Matthew Semisch

Hobey Baker Award finalist Carsen Chubak has six shutouts this season (photo: Omar Phillips).

Niagara Purple Eagles

Schedule :: Stats :: Roster

Coach: Dave Burkholder, 12th season

Record: 23-9-5 (20-5-2 Atlantic Hockey, first)

How they got in: At-large bid

Regional seed: Third

Last NCAA tournament appearance: 2008

Best NCAA finish: Second round in 2000

Why they’ll get to the Frozen Four: Any team with a Hobey Baker Award finalist in net is going to be in every game. Junior Carsen Chubak has a .938 save percentage and six shutouts.

Why they won’t get to the Frozen Four: The Purple Eagles were just 1-3-3 in non-conference games this season.

The past week has been a roller coaster ride for Niagara, which despite being the clear favorite to win its first Atlantic Hockey playoff championship was knocked out in the semifinals by archrival Canisius.

Dave Burkholder’s team then played the waiting game before finding out that it had earned the first at-large bid in league history.

“We’re glad to be honored with an at-large bid that was based on our body of work this season,” Burkholder said. “We’re grateful for a second chance.”

Burkholder said his team had to regroup from a rough weekend, but is back on track.

“We had a meeting on Sunday morning with players and staff and aired some things out,” he said.

“We let guys go on offense because we have skilled players up front, but they have to be responsible transitioning from offense to defense,” Burkholder added. “We were not good in that department against Canisius. We gave up three goals in transition.

“We called some people out on that and got some things off our chests. Then we moved on and put it behind us.”

The Purple Eagles’ success starts with AHA player of the year and Hobey Baker Award finalist Carsen Chubak, who is among the nation’s best goaltenders, posting a .939 save percentage and six shutouts. Chubak has all-league defensemen Kevin Ryan and Dan Weiss in front of him, although Weiss did not play last weekend due to injury.

Up front, you won’t see Giancarlo Iuorio among the national scoring leaders because he has missed 11 games due to injury and therefore hasn’t appeared in the required 75 percent of games to be listed. But the senior has 21 goals in 26 contests and is averaging 1.3 points per game. Linemates Ryan Murphy and Marc Zanette have 36 and 28 points, respectively.

As for Niagara’s first-round opponent North Dakota, Burkholder said his team faces a daunting task.

“You’ve got 18 NHL draft picks and a pair of guys [Danny Kristo and Corban Knight] who have 305 points between them playing in the WCHA,” he said. “If we play like we did against Canisius, we’re going to be in for a long night.”

– Chris Lerch

Kenny Agostino has 15 goals for Yale this season (photo: Melissa Wade).

Yale Bulldogs

Schedule :: Stats :: Roster

Coach: Keith Allain, seventh season

Record: 18-12-3 (12-9-1 ECAC Hockey, third)

How they got in: At-large bid

Regional seed: Fourth

Last NCAA tournament appearance: 2011

Best NCAA finish: Third place in 1952

Why they’ll get to the Frozen Four: Yale has finally paired NCAA experience with a competent goaltender in the same season.

Why they won’t get to the Frozen Four: As goes goalie Jeff Malcolm, so go the Bulldogs. When he is off his game, the team is rarely able to compensate.

Do you remember the 2008-09 Bulldogs, who went 24-8-2 en route to a clean sweep of the ECAC Hockey hardware? Or what about the 2009-10 team — the one that stunned North Dakota in the Northeast Regional before going down to Boston College in a blaze of manic, unforgettable lunacy the following night? The spring of 2011 wasn’t bad for the Bulldogs, either, securing a program-record 28 wins, another league tournament championship and another NCAA win along the way. Do you remember all that?

Well, forget it: This ain’t one of those teams.

The current iteration of Keith Allain’s Bulldogs is battle-tested for sure, but it simply doesn’t run as deep as previous Yale rosters.

Senior captain Andrew Miller (16 goals), junior Kenny Agostino (15) and senior Antoine Laganiere (14) can make you nervous, but the scoring isn’t as spread out as it has been in previous years. Yale’s 2.82 goals per game is seven-tenths of a goal fewer than it averaged last season, and the lowest total in a half-decade.

For a team that was scoring more than four goals a game just two years ago, it’s a big change that has necessitated big adjustments.

Fortunately for Yale, one of the necessary adaptations came through this year: Senior goaltender Jeff Malcolm boasts a 16-6-2 record with a .914 save percentage and 2.42 goals against average; his backups are a combined 2-6-1 with .890 and 4.06 statistics. Clearly, the Bulldogs are a better team with Malcolm between the pipes.

Beyond these upperclassmen, rookie defenseman Ryan Obuchowski led the team with a plus-10 rating for the year, sophomore defenseman Tommy Fallen notched 15 assists and 22 points, and junior forward Jesse Root has put up a balanced 9-11–20 line in 30 games.

Yale did not qualify for the tournament in the most desirable of fashions, losing both its semifinal and consolation games by shutout. What had seemed on Thursday to be practically assured was suddenly — with the overwhelming number of upsets in other leagues — evaporating before the Bulldogs’ eyes.

Miller said that he and his teammates knew the stakes before Saturday’s third-place game against neighboring Quinnipiac, but the nation’s top seed held serve and denied Yale’s increasing desperation.

But when Notre Dame finally ended the March of the Underdogs and eliminated Michigan in the CCHA championship game, Yale knew it was in.

“Having to worry about the CCHA championship was not the position we wanted to be in,” Miller said via email, “but we felt that our body of work throughout the season should put us in position to make the tournament.”

The Bulldogs’ leader believes that his team’s experience will serve it well this weekend, and that focus is paramount to success at the national level.

“I have learned that the pace of the game is fast, and the smallest mistakes can send you home for the year,” Miller said, “so in order to win games in the tournament you have to be at your best in all aspects of your game.”

While outsiders will indubitably question Yale’s qualifications in light of last weekend’s results, Miller is confident in the Bulldogs’ competitive pedigree.

“We are a competitive group of kids and we are looking forward to this weekend,” he said.

– Brian Sullivan

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  • Classless

    Typical…Kristo looks drunk in his photo! Stay classy NOdak ;)

    • nogofer

      Your screen name is perfectly fit to you…

    • GeauxSioux

      I’m sorry, didn’t Yale just blow off a press conference because they lost?

    • GoGophs

      Ooh, low blow :/

    • http://www.facebook.com/clinton.edmisten Clinton Edmisten

      So what you are portraying is that UND has the only team in college hockey that has players that drink. Let us know when your points become valid so we can stop wasting our time reading your posts.

    • http://www.facebook.com/phil.vanschepen Phil Van Schepen

      Three words, Eric Haula and Stillwater.

      • Satriani92

        That’s 4 words

        • Fan Man

          “and” is a conjunction so it doesn’t count right?

          • Satriani92

            Good point. I believe it still counts. I could be wrong though.

  • EliBlue

    Yale fan here and I have to say that this is probably the first time ever that every North Dakota fan is rooting for Yale ;) Brian I would note one thing. This Yale team is relying a lot on freshman who don’t have the NCAA experience under their belts. They depend a ton on O’Gara, Cooper, Wilson, Obuchowski and, at times, Witek, Orzetti and even later, Learned. They had some great games against heavy hitters this year, like Denver and BC, but Minnesota and North Dakota are deep and talented. GeauxSioux, that’s pretty much par for their coach. Can’t explain. Then again, your coach gave the finger to fans didn’t he, ;) And if you can share how to beat Minnesota, pass it on

    • disqus_Cjfmilck2p

      The trick to beating Minn…..

      score more goals than them

      • Satriani92

        Which is not an easy task, given Wilcox’s stats.

    • GeauxSioux

      I believe Hak’s finger was directed toward the officials, but I could be wrong.

      There were/are pictures of our fans flipping off people, is that what you’re referring to?

      • Satriani92

        Yes, it was directed at the officials and it was long ago. To his credit he has done better recently.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dave.wasdahl Dave Wasdahl

      try violence. the gophers are prone to turtling when dominated physically

      • GoGophs

        Probably some truth to this. MN will stick to skilled hockey. Teams like UND (men AND women, apparently) will likely continue the bush-league tactics that may win 50% of the games but will always lose 100% of the respect. Hakstol and Lucia will probably always have different philosophies

        • http://www.facebook.com/clinton.edmisten Clinton Edmisten

          Yep. No skill on UND’s team. 14 NHL draft picks including two first rounders. I think I beg to differ. Oh wait…. I failed to mention two of the top 10 for the hobey baker are from UND. Thanks for your opinion and when it actually has some validity it might have some importance.

          • ExiledGopher

            You forgot to mention the all time leader in frozen toes…

          • Fan Man

            You forgot the Dinkeytown Blarney’s Bar Buster…

          • ExiledGopher

            Really, which one of UND’s players is that? Because I was responding to the post about how epic the UND players are.

          • Fan Man

            I’m talking about the Gopher hockey team’s underage recruitment party at a bar in Dinkeytown way back in 05′. If you dont know what Dinkeytown is it is like a little downtown for college kids on campus. Pretty cool place actually. Let’s not get into the whole college kids drink thing again please :) I shouldn’t have even wasted my or your time by typing this sorry
            It’s time to drop the puck!!!!

          • nogofer

            Do you mean the ND player who will be playing Saturday? Tell your boys to have a nice bus ride home Friday night…

          • ExiledGopher

            Thanks for your concern about our travel accommodations. Congrats to you and your team — you actually seem like a decent fellow for fan. Tell Danny to make sure he wears his shoes outside —- still not spring yet.

          • nogofer

            Jokes about a nearly career-ending situation; you must love hitting from behind. Of course, as a umtc rodent, THAT could be understood numerous ways.

          • ExiledGopher

            If I’d like hitting from behind, I’d be a UND fan — see video below (just happens to be Danny).

            Kristo is punk – so, I have no sympathy for him.

            Based on their style of play, UND could care less about hurting people.

          • nogofer

            The gofer is always last into the corner because the wussies are afraid to to play men’s hockey. Take a cue from your chick’s team: At least they play with heart…

          • ExiledGopher

            And they get cross checked from behind by UND players just the like the mens team (see video of UND female cheapshot after game winning goal). Just a complete bush league move…maybe mrs hakstol coaches the UND women.

      • tom kolar

        5-1 against north dakota who is probally the cheapest team in the NCAA and you say they turtle when dominated phyiscally

        • http://www.facebook.com/clinton.edmisten Clinton Edmisten

          So far your stats suck. 6-2-2 this year and last year. But I am pretty sure if you go check the stats the previous half decade Minnesota was getting their butts handed to them as well as not even making the NCAA’s two years ago. Go gophers. As far as the cheapest team in the league. How do you gauge that? UND plays hard-nose and physical like hockey is meant to be played and are extremely skilled hockey players at the same time. I think half of the gophers take diving lessons from the U’s swim team.

          • ExiledGopher

            Any team in the country that jumps people in the handshake line is cheap. Oh, and when they skip the big guys to get to the little guys, they become the cheapest.

            How’s that for a metric?

          • tom kolar

            and they beat north dakota 5-1 dumbass

          • Satriani92

            I suppose that include the classy acts of taking a punch in the handshake line too right?

          • HOCKEYHEAD

            Clinton…living in the past always works out so well. UND has had great teams, no Gophers fan, coach, player will deny that. We are playing a tourney this year, with this years team. I don’t think the 2010 Gophers will play the 2010 Souix,

        • http://twitter.com/saraj323 Sara Folkestad

          Cheapest team in the tourney would be Denver bud.

          • Satriani92

            You need to watch more games Sara.

      • Satriani92

        Let’s see you are condoning cheap shots? Your a loser!

    • Fan Man

      The trick to beating Minnesota is by getting them outside their comfort zone and attacking all night long. You can either play like Bemidji or play like the Goofballs and just hope your goalie is hotter than theirs and that you can outscore them!

      • Satriani92

        The trick to beating the Gophers is to pressure their defense into making turnovers in their own zone and getting shots off before Wilcox is set. Or playing them on a night when they are not motivated. Other than that there aren’t alot of holes in their game.

    • jmsptrk

      IF you can hang tight for a period or so, you’ve got a shot. But if Minny gets cranked up early, it’s all over.

      • EliBlue

        JMS, would love to see them hang tight for a period on the road. That would play to their advantage. The problem is depth. Even if they stay close, Yale’s only saving grace is that they’re fast and like to skate. They have just a couple of kids drafted by NHL teams, compared to 15 for Minnesota, they play fewer games and in the ECAC you don’t get as much of a chance to face some of the high octane programs. It’s awesome that they made it to the NCAAs, and you’re always rooting for an upset. But this team isn’t as deep as the one that lost to UMD in Bridgeport.

      • EliBlue

        They did a lot more than hang on!

        • jmsptrk

          I’d say. Good luck the rest of the tourney. I’m going to go drink a bottle of Jack Daniels ;)

    • goldy

      I wouldn’t be so quick to assume all the sioux fans want Yale to win. I bet a good share would love nothing more than beating MN on thier way to the frozen… too bad for those fans, that won’t be happening this year!

      • nogofer

        I’ll talk to you Sunday…

        • goldy

          Are you hitting on me?

          • nogofer

            You wish…

        • goldy

          Take your shots while you can. See ya next year at theĀ ”west” regional.

        • goldy

          LOL!!! What were you saying about Sunday?

          • nogofer

            Or not!

      • http://twitter.com/saraj323 Sara Folkestad

        Speak for yourself.

      • MattW

        As a ND fan, I want a Natl Champ more than beating MN. But, I never turn down a chance to play MN. Payback!

      • EliBlue

        are you sure the North Dakota fans didn’t like that?

        • goldy

          they may have…

          • nogofer

            This season’s Champ is my favorite now that The Sioux are out: ABG.
            Anyone But Gofer

  • Satriani92

    Gophers need to concentrate on playing their game, which when they play it, is very effective. Everyone talks about the UND/Minnesota meeting, which I agree is always a great game, but getting rather tiresome in the NCAA’s. I want to see the Gophers worry about the game at hand and play it one game at a time. I want so see them play their game and whatever happens, happens. Many times this season their biggest obstacle has been themselves.

    • GoGophs

      Well said. I don’t think its too bold to say that only Minnesota can beat Minnesota from here on out. And yet, that is why they play the game, ya just never know. History, records, old scores.. none of it really matters. Gotta win one game at a time. Should be a fun tourney!

      • http://twitter.com/saraj323 Sara Folkestad

        WOW. Only Minnesota can beat Minnesota? Do you know how arrogant that sounds?

        • GoGophs

          Really? I guess I didn’t intend it to sound arrogant, I’m usually trying to play the “let’s all get along” card in these commentaries. I try to not get pulled into the fray because it just becomes futile insults and biased, hand-picked statistical comparisons. I guess if you asked those who cast ballots for the national polls all year, or really follow hockey and comment on here, I think you’d find most of them have said MN has the most talent and depth top to bottom. And when they play to their potential, they beat teams. They are just a very good team, albeit inconsistent. Clearly I can’t own any pride in their victories, I’m not out there playing. So if its arrogance, take it up with the players and this year’s accomplishments. That’s where it counts, not on here. Every loss or tie that I watched this year the gophers flat out played terribly. And yes that happened quite often this year, 13 times. Not once did I see them play their best and get beat. So, IF they play to their potential, I don’t see a team in the field that should beat them. I don’t think its arrogant, I think it’s an easily defendable position. Of course this is based on one subjective opinion. But hey, what do I know about hockey.

          • Satriani92

            Absolutely. I would say the one game that they played well and lost was the game against Minnesota St. that they lost 2-1 in the last minute of the game. Williams robbed several Gophers that night. Overall, when teams don’t play their best they lose. However, the Gophers have enough talent to play lousy for a period or two and still win the game and have done that often and I think that it gives them this false sense that they can do that anytime and that is not the case as team are always motivated to play them and especially now because there are no easy opponents. I get what you were trying to say and I think that any Gopher fan would understand that too, while those who are not Gopher fans or have not watched them all year would misinterpret that statement.

          • GoGophs

            Good points. The more I re-read it the more it does come across as a pretty arrogant statement :/

        • GoGophs

          I have to check myself a bit. It appears you have been following this much longer than I (3+ years) and have quite a bit of hockey knowledge to boot. So I was perhaps a bit over-toned in my first response. I can definitely see the UND in you, and I’ll leave it at that.

          • Fan Man

            Whoever WANTS it the most is gonna win, period

  • GoGophs

    “Thumped” haha

    • nogofer

      Yes, you were…

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.winjum.5 Scott Winjum

    Just so the NCAA can weed out a strong WCHA team before the Frozen Four.

    • GottaLoveHockey

      Because otherwise, the WCHA would have 6 teams in the Frozen Four, right? (Oh, wait … someone forgot to tell Yale!)

    • Devo

      Yep, looks like Yale did the weeding, not the NCAA. This is why i have a hard time believing the conspiracy theories: too many games finish like this one, where the consensus “strongest team” is not the one that comes out on top.

      That said though, this is also a perfect example of why tweaking the brackets for attendance purposes and “tournament atmosphere” is dumb. I bet they thought to themselves, “UND v. MN in a regional final would be great for attendance and tournament atmosphere,” let’s mess with bracket integrity to make that happen. Well, so much for that.

      • Joseph Crowley

        Yale>>>North Dakota+Minnesota

        I guess everyone worried about the NCAA keeping the WCHA out of the Frozen Four WAS right. Made them play Yale did the big bad NCAA committee.

  • MikeE

    Something tells me the mods will be keeping an eye on this page!

    • Satriani92

      The WHCA comments keep the mods quite busy during the year. It is relatively mild here.

      • MikeE

        No kidding Satriani, overall it’s been much more mild that I anticipated, especially since it’s the NCAA’s and there is the “possibility” of a UM/UND meeting. Surprising actually. Bottom line is the Gophers need to get past Yale and UND has to get by Niagra. But hell will break loose IF! the two end up meeting Saturday! It would be WW3 for about 24 hours! I say…I will miss this SO MUCH the next few years….the constant hatred and banter. The always used generalized insults on both sides. The fact that Goph fans and North Dakota fans can dig up so much dirt on each other it could last for years! Haula pi$$ed here, Oshie pi$$ed there….Blarneys this, Judys that, lawnmowers, dwi, frostbite, dui, underage….well come to think of it, in all reality….UND has had a few more “off ice” issues reported recently than the U but lets be realists here…we all know our guys are out having a good time as well. I’m no homer….I know these guys are out partying too…maybe they’re just a little better at not getting caught! But still, it’s sad that after this weekend we might very well see a decline in this rivalry. If there is one thing that can help keep it alive it is the rumor that the U didn’t want to schedule UND the next four years. Well anyone with half a brain and a computer to do some research will know that the lawsuit concerning the Sioux logo, the impending changes with the stupid big ten, other governing laws, and the fact that schedules are planned out several years in advance,….would know that these teams WANTED to play but s#!t happened that prevented it. I guarantee if these two teams had it THEIR way they would play…the MOST inaccurate thing anyone can ever say is that either of these teams is afraid to play each other….if someone thinks that….then you’re a dumba$$. I truly hope my Gophs and North Dakota get another get another shot at each other…man it would be epic.

        edit: sorry for the length…I got on a roll!!

  • fudge

    Oh my gosh there is a west regional!, I was looking all over the western part of the US but could not find it, Where is it?

  • YaleFan

    Yale can absolutely compete with anyone, period, but the key is to get a goal or two early. They were obviously extremely frustrated last weekend (despite not actually playing that badly in my view, particularly against QU), and I’m worried that they will get taken out of their game if the scoreless streak extends to 7 periods. Minnesota better not take them lightly though — Calgary gave up Jarome Iginla for Kenny Agostino last night.

    • UnionTampa

      Union torched ‘em!

      • YaleFan

        No question. Union looked great last weekend in AC. Good luck against BC.

    • Satriani92

      Getting a goal or two early is the key to *any* teams success. Once you are in the final 16 anyone that takes anyone else lightly will find themselves watching the rest of the tourney real quick. I still like Minnesota chances. Oh and Pittsburgh also traded the rights to Ben Hanowski and a 1st round draft choice in addition to Agostino. Let’s include all the facts, shall we.

      • YaleFan

        Fair points, although was attempting to inject a little humor re: Agostino…of course Kenny was a (very) small piece of the deal.

        • Satriani92

          It will be a good game. I will be interesting to see how they play since they haven’t played in 10 years. How tentative the start will be.and who will score the first goal. That will go a long way in deciding the game.

          • YaleFan

            Agreed. And if we lose, we’ll always have those two games in 1934 to hold over you guys.

  • chickenstrip6

    Does anyone know where I can find an online stream of these games, or if there’s a way to bypass the espn3 service provider login? You used to be able to watch all the games on espn3 without having a particular service provider, but these corporate assholes like forcing people to buy comcast.

    • Satriani92

      Many of the games will be in ESPNU and you can access a direct stream online.

      • chickenstrip6

        through ESPN, or where?

  • justfact

    Und is 21-19 how pathetic is this sport to have a .500 team ranked so high and allowed in tourney. How sad to let the Canadiens in.

  • justfact

    Und is 21-19 (ties are losses) what kind of sport lets a .500 team be in playoffs? A Canadian one at that?

  • jdhockeyboyz

    Danny Kristo … The loosest wheel on Hakstol’s hot rod

  • disqus_tjoUKNERfX

    Everyone is somewhat incorrect on the outcome of the West Regional. The outcome will depend on the conference where the officials come from. ie WCHA officials let the playes play a more NHL style game while most of the eastern conferences play a more ‘genteel’ high school type game. My 2 cents take it or leave it

  • Joseph Crowley

    Apparently, the ECAC can play hockey. Maybe the AHA can play, too.

    Or maybe, there are a lot of good teams playing hockey in lots of leagues.

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